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City releases names of firefighters hospitalized after explosion

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The Roswell Fire Department has released the names of two city firefighters who were critically injured Wednesday in an explosion south of the city.

Jeff Stroble, 46, and Robert “Hoby” Bonham, 36, remain in critical condition at a hospital in Lubbock Texas where they were transported Wednesday, according to a press release Thursday from the Fire Department.

Stroble is a fire apparatus operator and 17-year member with the department. Bonham is a firefighter who has been with the department for 18 years, the release states.

No other details about their injuries were disclosed Thursday.

Stroble, Bonham and 10 other firefighters were packaging fireworks for the city’s upcoming Fourth of July fireworks display when the explosion happened.

The 10 other firefighters in the building at the time of the blast were checked out medically and released from the hospital with injuries that were all classified as minor, the release states.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation, but Lance Bateman of the New Mexico State Police said at a press conference Wednesday that it was believed no malice was involved.

Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh, at the same press conference, encouraged people to pray for the injured firefighters and their families.

U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM — whose 2nd Congressional District includes Roswell — said the same Thursday in a post on her official Facebook page.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the injured firefighters and their families. Please join me in wishing them a speedy recovery,” the post stated.

Much of Roswell has had Stroble, Bonham and their families on their minds. A prayer vigil organized by Christ Church of Roswell saw a large turnout in the parking lot of the Wool Bowl Wednesday night.